Thom Hunt, one of the Three Hungry Boys, has recently opened his own business Seventh Rise in Cornwall offering a mixture of courses giving expertise about fishing, hunting, foraging and wild food cooking. It’s based at The Lost Cottage HQ on the banks of the River Fal. We caught up with Thom to ask him about his new business and to get some top fishing tips for beginners you can try out the next time you go camping.[hr]
Tell us your inspiration for 7th Rise and how it got its name.
I’ve always had a fantastic connection with the outdoors and after 2 series of ‘3 Hungry Boys’ on Channel 4 and writing a book I felt it was time to start a company to offer my expertise and great experiences to others. The name 7th Rise comes from trying to describe the feeling I get when waking at 6am to go fishing on the Sunday, the 7th day. Sunday has always been fishing day for me, a sort of religion I guess!
What will you be offering for beginners and the more experienced fisherman or woman?
The courses will be a mixture of all my outdoor expertise and passions; fishing, hunting, foraging and wild food cooking. It can be tailored to both men and women of all age ranges. I just want people to come and enjoy the Great British countryside! It can be everything from tying knots and learning the best tide times, through to digging your own bait and all day deep-sea fishing trips.
You will also be offering tips and techniques for hunting, foraging and cooking with wild foods. Will participants actually be out there doing it or is it more of a classroom based course?
We have some many great areas at the Lost Cottage HQ and there’s a wide range of things to do on a day or weekend course. We have demo areas where everyone can get hands on learning to prepare and deal with whole fish, rabbits or pigeons, etc. We have 3 separate outside cooking stations covering BBQ, underground ovens and small spit roasts. We have a ‘Hammock Village’ in the woods for people to relax and enjoy books and peace and quite between daily activities, and a target range to have air gun shooting competitions.
What will be so unique about a visit to 7th Rise?
7th Rise is different for a number of reasons. Firstly the location is second to none. If you know of another historical stone Cottage hidden in 14 acres of ancient Oak woodland with its own private creek and only accessed by River, please let me know! It is truly isolated and tranquil. The second most unusual thing is what I ask of people when they come. Nobody is seen as simply a ‘visitor’ buying an experience for the weekend. These people ARE the experience and I want each one of them to be the history of the place. I therefore ask everyone to bring something unique to leave there. It can be as small as they like. We have a huge cork board wall in the lounge where people have left photo’s, poems, international bank notes, local football team badges, old fishing lures…. you name it!
All mobile phones are placed in a bag when you step off the boat and returned at the end. We aim to provide not only great courses and enjoyment, but three things rarely found in the modern world. Space, time, and silence.
What’s the history of the lost Stone Cottage?
The Cottage was originally a location that made charcoal from the surrounding Oak woodlands. The bark from these trees went upriver to a local tannery and they would also burn limestone to create quicklime, used as a building mortar. However, in the last 10 years it has only been used a handful of times by a small local company offering adventure courses to school kids.
What’s your recommendation for the best campsite forage?
Know your stuff! Get familiar with what I call the ‘easy’ foraging plants, i.e. plants that are both easy to identify, have little chance of being mistaken for anything dangerous and taste great too! In this list are things like sea beet, elderflowers, wild garlic, poppy, fat hen, blackberries, hawthorn, nettles, sloes, damsons, wild fennel and sweet chestnut to name a few. The ‘easy’ list is quite long really!
What’s your top five tips or equipment for beginners fishing?
- Always go to a tackle shop to get your first bits of equipment because it comes with free local advice that you can’t get from the Internet as easily;
- Use good quality bait as it makes a huge difference;
- Don’t buy cheap hooks! They are the only bit that connects you to your hard-earned dinner!
- Be safe, especially sea fishing. Make sure you check tides and the weather as sea storms can roll in very quickly and leave you caught outstretched;
- If you see other anglers catching fish, go and ask politely why they’re being successful. Just one little tip can turn your day from being a blank into catching a fish to remember forever.
Top Fishing Tips For Beginners From Thom Hunt
The best advice for any beginner is to have patience. Maybe this is easier said than done but it takes more than minutes to catch a fish. It generally takes hours and sometimes doesn’t happen at all!
While you’re waiting for your first bite try to get to know your location. Listen to the activity around you and pay attention to: birds diving in the water; splashes in the water; frogs; and splashes on top of the water, all which mean you may need to use surface plugs or flies. These are subtle clues to help you get closer to the fish. Engage your mind and senses to really note where the fish are and what they are feeding on. Also pay attention to weather and environmental conditions and record the tide, moon phase, time and sky conditions when you catch fish as these all have an impact on your success.
Always be prepared and make sure you have everything you need with you. Key items are your box of tackle and bait, sun cream, your lunch, a first aid pack, and the right clothes for every eventuality. After about an hour decide if it might be better to move to a different spot, but remember that playing with your line or moving around generates noise and this can scare off fish.
When you’re a beginner at anything the key to success is to pay attention to the experts. Watch the local fishermen, study what they do, what kit they’re using and where they’re catching the fish. They won’t share their precious locations with you but you can head in their general direction and know for next time when they might not be around.
It’s also a good idea to know something about the type of fish you might be likely to get in the spot you’re fishing. All species behave independently and like to hang out in different places. Look for rips or strong currents in saltwater, as this is where bass like to be. Also look for working birds if you are seeking mackerel, a sandy bottom for flounder and rocks for wrasse. In fresh water they like to ambush their prey so watch near overhanging branches tall grass and anything else that can be used by them as a hide out. Trout like both slow and fast running water therefore looking out for eddies, rocks and debris is key for this fish. Pike also prefer running water but can ambush their prey like Bass, so they can be found in cover as well. So always make sure you understand the habits of the fish you are pursuing and ask the locals for any tips to help you out.
Enjoy your fishing trip. The more you enjoy it the more likely you’ll stay and have a good catch. Invest in a strong but lightweight fishing chair if you are serious about catching fish and not getting damp or uncomfortable. Relax but don’t forget to pay attention to everything around you. Nature is always busy and there are always fishing clues around if you keep your eyes and ears open.
Ask experts about the right bait to use for a species of fish, and if you can, ask local fishermen too. You may want to use live bait over artificial, but the most important thing is to use or mimic whatever the fish are feeding on at that time, which does change. You should also alternate different coloured bait as the type a species will go for can vary from day-to-day.
If you follow these simple tips there’s a good chance you will land a great catch the next time you go camping. However, following these tips of what NOT to do will also lead to success in the future.
Never Litter Or Pollute
Littering reduces the chances for the next generation of fish, therefore reducing your chances of catching fish in the future. Hooks, cases, old lures and fishing lines are common along shores of ponds, lakes and beaches. Fishing lines are especially bad for the ecosystem as fish and birds get tangled in them. So if you see any litter, even if it’s not yours, you should try to safely move it to a litter bin to help nature on its way.
Also be extra careful about what chemicals you introduce to any watercourse. Be especially careful of gas or oil from machinery, toilet chemicals and other camping facilities.
Be Respectfully Quiet
Fishing is a quiet and peaceful hobby that creates a sense of tranquility for everyone both observing and doing the fishing. Besides, being noisy drastically reduces the chances of catching anything as sound travels easily on top of and under the water.
Use Good Catch And Release Techniques
Always wet your hands before handling fish as it helps to preserve their protective covering, and make sure you have nothing else on your hands but water. Use barbless hooks as this helps to limit the time fish have to stay out of the water and is easier on their sensitive mouths. Always remember that anything you can do to ensure the survival of one fish may help to produce hundreds of offspring for the next fishing season.
Don’t Take More Than You Can Eat
Only kill the fish you, your friends and family intend to eat. Also remember that smaller species of fish matter just as much as larger ones as they are food for higher up the food chain.
Happy fishing and of course… happy camping!
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Picture Credits: Inspired Camping & Thom Hunt